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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Another Post About our Future Modular Library

An article in the December 9th Examiner sheds light on what we are getting in terms of the modular library:

Modular libraries promised for three D.C. neighborhoods

By Michael Neibauer, The Examiner

Washington, D.C. - Three of the District’s four neighborhood branch libraries that closed in 2004 for reconstruction will finally be replaced with interim modular units early next year, though community activists say they aren’t holding their breath.

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” said Alexander Padro, a Shaw advisory neighborhood commissioner. “We’ve already had our neighborhood branch closed for two years and all they’ve done is fence it off and cancel the contract.”

The D.C. Public Library will lease three 4,200-square-foot modular buildings, which are slated for Anacostia, Benning and Watha T. Daniel-Shaw,from Williams Scotsman Inc. The units cost about $620,000 each.

Monica Lewis, library system spokeswoman, could not describe each unit’s capacity for storage of books. But the interim units will hold more computers than the closed branches - 16 public access PCs, eight children’s PCs and two catalogue PCs - and will have a children’s section and an adult reading area.

The fourth shuttered library, Tenley-Friendship, will be served by a leased storefront at 4200 Wisconsin Ave. NW.

The four branches were closed in December 2004 for reconstruction. But a $20 million contract with Hess Construction Co. was canceled less than a year later as library officials re-evaluated their plans. The library system found it “much more difficult than we originally realized it would be to set up interim library service,” Lewis said, citing real estate prices and other considerations.

“I think the modular unit idea stinks, but the people need something to replace their branch while they’re closed,” said Robin Diener, director of the Library Renaissance Project.

Early next year, the library will select architects to design four new permanent branches, Lewis said.

In the meantime, the Anacostia modular unit should arrive later this month.

It will require 30 days to assemble the 18 massive pieces and then run sewer, water and electricity to the facility, Lewis said. The other two units should arrive soon afterward.

Areas previously served by the shuttered branches are being visited five days a week by a “high-tech bookmobiles,” which community activists have said are cramped, meagerly stocked and poorly marketed.

The above picture is probably what our massive modular library will look like. A D.C. library source reports that building will not require any trees to be removed.

Thanks to the contributing tipsters regarding the Library issue.


Anonymous said...

Well this just sucks big time. No one believes the city or the liebarry (sic) - work on it and you get it. The trailer will be there forever. Just what do they think they are going to connect the trailer to – the city’s sewer system? Might as well, considering that’s where most of our tax dollars go anyway. Is this what DC wants? A Katrina-like model of urban renewal - "let them learn in trailers." What a real shame, too, with all the empty potential spaces on 9th Street, they had a chance to find something that actually improved Shaw.

Ray Milefsky said...

You might like to know that the reason the Watha T. Daniels library looks like a concete bunker is because it was designed to serve as a riot-proof shelter for citizens to flee to in event of more civil disturbances after 1968. The book "Ten Blocks from the White House" has gruesome photos of the carnage at the mouth of Seventh and Rhode Island. You can understand why the city approved such a hideous building to go atop the ruins. Given the many murders and the threats of racial disturbances from civic leaders in recent months, we should demand that the building be reopened simply as a public safety precaution. Screw the trailer. This is DC not West Virgina.

Anonymous said...

$620K * 3 = $1.86 MILLION for temporary trailers!! And that's after screwing around with this for over TWO YEARS!! Unbelievable...